Here's my I've Been Everywhere Story, a sad tale to say the least.  It

started out well enough.  Allen & I usually take a long motorcycle

vacation each year to explore new areas of the Midwest, but because of a

change of job, Allen had only 5 days of vacation coming this year.  We

planned a camping vacation to Road America for the AMA Superbike races and

decided there would have to be a lot of day trips on unfamiliar back roads

to make up for our usual lengthier explorations.  When Allen discovered

the IBET, it was the perfect answer to our "where should we go this

weekend" question.  Like everyone else, we printed off the list of towns

and started planning our itinerary, keeping our goals modest in only

wanting to complete 25 locations.


Our "maiden voyage" was in May and close to home, picking up Dayton,

Buffalo & Chaska, MN.  We would have picked up one more had not a road

construction detour turned us around so badly that we ended up back in

Buffalo.  Now we were really jazzed and checked the map to see which

locations we could pick up on our June trip to Road America.  On our way

home from Elkhart Lake we were able to document Fond du Lac, Eldorado and

Kingston, WI.  This was getting really fun.  Later in June, I talked Allen

into taking me to a quilt show in Rochester with a side trip to pick up

more places.  We got the Minnesota Welcome sign and Winona, Mn.  Yes, that

created a bit of an argument as I was sure Winona was one of the towns and

Allen assured me it was not.  However, just in case and since it wasn't

that far out of our way, he indulged me.  When we got home, we checked the

list.  OK, so Winona ISN'T in the song, BUT IT SHOULD BE!


Soon the July 4th holiday weekend was upon us but there was lots to do at

home and the weather was iffy and we had pretty much decided not to go

anywhere when out of the blue a guy Allen works with asked him if we'd

like to ride someplace with him and his girlfriend that Saturday.  So we

said, sure, picked the route and told them we planned to try to pick up a

few towns in the process for our IBET.  We ended up getting only one more

town...Houston, Mn., but had such a wonderful ride and great fun with this

couple.  And it's a good thing we did...


Because on July 5th, Allen was killed while riding his motorcycle to work.

This couple, Charlie and Christie, road with red ribbons on their

motorcycles in Allen's memory, and when I asked Charlie if he would

consider finishing out the IBET for us, he said, "Absolutely!"  So

technically, Allen & I did not finish the IBET, but this wonderful friend

did for us, picking up the following towns on his bike with our flag #189:

8/19 saw Ottawa, Waterville, Reno, MN and Bangor, WI for a total of 450

miles (Charlie confided that he meant to also pick up Baraboo, WI that

day, but it was getting cold and he didn't have chaps or heavy gloves, so

headed home.); 8/27 he found Toronto, SD and Springfield, MN for a short

280 mile day; 9/2 he was in Little Rock &Hackensack, MN for 380 miles; 9/9

he made it to Knoxville, Oskaloosa, Charleston, Monterey (ok, he admits he

didn't find any sign but this church sign after following several leads,

several dirt roads and arriving at the church and two rundown farms.), all

in Iowa, then Monterey, NE, which he says was very similar to the one in

IA, then back to Washington, IA making a very long 650 mile day, but

perhaps yielding his best picture of the lot.  It shows the town sign, a

cop car, a cop holding the flag and the motorcycle.  Charlie says,

"Shortly after stopping in Washington, the town cop stopped and asked if

there were any problems.  I told him, No, but I could use a banner holder.

 Steve, the town police, gladly helped out.  He was also a rider & missed

out on Sturgis this year due to a broken wrist.  He is looking forward to

getting on a new Harley in the spring of 2001.  Thanks for the help,

Steve!"; 9/10 he found the sign pointing to Nashville  (when he spoke to

one of the residents, she just laughed, threw up her arms and said, "This

is it!"), Davenport, Waterloo and Parkersburg, IA in what he described as

a very wet 355 mile day; 9/24 saw him winding up the tour on another cool

day with Winslow, NE (36 degrees at 11:00 a.m.), Sioux City (45 degrees at

1 p.m.) and Spirit Lake, IA for a 710 mile day!  This last picture reveals

why he may have survived that last long day as he didn't bother to unload

the bike from the back of his pick-up for the picture.  Well, I had told

him you were looking for interesting, fun, different poses and said I

thought that would make a good one, so he took me up on it and calls it

his "cheater".


So somewhere in there between the three of us, I think we may have 25

legitimate locations documented.  You may not consider this a true

"finish", but you can't fault us for giving it our best shot!


Thanks for the crazy idea that has left me with so many wonderful memories

of rides we probably would not have taken otherwise.  And to everyone out

there...ride safely.


Sheila Barnes

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